Protections for Scotland’s cattle industry

Legislation strengthened to prevent the spread of infection.

Farmers bringing cattle into Scotland will be subject to tighter controls in order to reduce the risk of spreading Bovine Tuberculosis (TB).

From 18 May, changes to legislation will come into force which will require stricter pre-movement testing of cattle, adding extra precautions for animals coming from areas of higher risk of infection.

In addition, compensation will be reduced for any unclean cattle slaughtered for TB control purposes. This will incentivise farmers to keep their animals clean and promote better animal health and welfare.

A new definition for isolation will also be introduced, and compensation will be reduced for cattle which are not properly isolated. This will strengthen the protection of the main herd against onward spread of infection from any reactors or suspect reactors.

Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said:

“Although Scotland is officially TB free, cases do still occur - and breakdowns are extremely disruptive, upsetting and distressing for cattle owners.

“We are committed to maintaining Scotland’s low TB infection rates and OTF status, which is crucial to the success of our cattle industry.

“These legislative changes are part of a comprehensive, practical and proportionate programme of measures to minimise the risks from all potential sources of infection and reduce the risk of disease spread as far as possible.

“Guidance on TB is available on the Scottish Government’s website and we will ensure farmers are kept up to date with the situation in Scotland. We will continue to support farmers affected by TB in partnership with the Animal and Plant Health Agency.”

NFU Scotland Vice President Alasdair Macnab said:

“Scottish cattle keepers are proud of Scotland’s Officially TB Free status (OTF) and remain committed to keeping TB out of Scotland.

“NFUS welcomes Scottish Government’s commitment to continually reviewing the processes in place to protect Scotland’s cattle herd and to make sure they remain fit for purpose.

“The changes to the pre-movement test requirements and improved clarity around isolation are being introduced following a consultation process and should offer increased confidence to keepers.

“NFUS urges Scottish cattle keepers to remain aware that the greatest risk of introducing TB into Scotland is from cattle movements, and to continue to ensure their sourcing policies will minimise the risk to their own holding and the national herd.”


Scotland was recognised as being officially TB free (OTF) by the European Commission in September 2009. Maintaining OTF status is crucial to the continuing success of the Scottish cattle industry which is regulated in terms of controls for TB by the Tuberculosis (Scotland) Order.

The new pre-movement testing requirements apply to cattle coming to Scotland from a TB high incidence area, including those coming from a low incidence TB area that have been in a high incidence TB high incidence area in any time of their life.

Eligible cattle, as above, will require a clear pre-movement test within 30 days prior to the movement to Scotland if tested after 18 May. This requirement was previously 60 days. Additional changes also mean that a negative TB test in a herd under movement restrictions will no longer be accepted as a qualifying pre-movement test, even if the test allows these restrictions to be lifted.

A public consultation took place on Citizens Space between 9 May – 1 August 2022, a total period of 12 weeks. The responses provided feedback which has been used to inform how legislation on TB in Scotland should be developed. It was clear that there is support among the various respondent groups for the changes being made under this amendment. A full consultation analysis is available at 

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) were also consulted as the Scottish Government’s operational delivery partners on all aspects of delivery and implementation.


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